According to Rabbi Shmuley, pornography is incredibly harmful and destructive to marriages. Pornography subtlety undermines male respect for women by detaching a woman's personality from her body, reducing her to a mere sexual commodity, he says. This in turn bores men and leads to dissatisfaction with their own wives and an inability to create a fulfilling, authentic sex life based on mutual respect for their female counterparts.
Rabbi Shmuley outlines the five main reasons why porn has a negative effect on marriages:
- Porn is a drug that leads to addiction. "It gives you a hit, it gives you a high that cannot be sustained unless you have massive exposure to it," Rabbi Shmuley says. As such, he says men often consume more and more porn, which can lead to distancing themselves from their loved ones, losing their jobs, etc.
- Porn is a form of sexism. Women are commoditized and objectified in porn, which puts them on an unequal footing with men. Rabbi Shmuley says this leads men to regard women as subordinate. "He sees breasts and genitalia," he says. "He sees the walking gratification of his material urges. So, he can't relate to that woman because there's no person—all he can do is use that woman."
- Porn portrays all women in one of four degrading, dehumanizing categories. They're either a "greedy gold-digger," "mindless playmate," "insatiable nymphomaniac" or "one who craves pain," Rabbi Shmuley says. "It gives you the most insidious view of women," he says. This can lead to an inability to form meaningful romantic relationships and even violence against women.
- Porn makes men get bored with their own wives. "Excessive exposure to the incredible variety of naked bodies that you see in porn makes men feel permanently dissatisfied with their wives' bodies," Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Porn cultivates a single standard of beauty that no real women can live up to. Again, Rabbi Shmuley says this leads men to be mistakenly dissatisfied with reality as it pertains to sex.
"The principle sin of porn is not one of commission but omission. All the erotic energy that should be focused on the woman in your life is being wasted. Your eroticism is being punctured, leaving your relationship boring and predictable."